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Sustainable energy expert advising government net zero inquiry

9 June 2021


Professor Jianzhong Wu acted as an expert witness at the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into the role of hydrogen in achieving the Net Zero 2050 targets.

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee held its fourth session inquiry into the role of hydrogen in achieving net zero on 12 May 2021. Professor Jianzhong Wu took part in the first panel of this committee alongside Carl Arntzen CEO of Bosch Thermaltechnology Limited, providing evidence on the future role of hydrogen in domestic heating and within the gas grid. Many other prominent experts in the field also gave evidence throughout the morning.

Professor Wu is Head School of Engineering at Cardiff University and Co-Director of the UK Energy Research Centre where he leads work investigating energy for heat. He is also leading many high-profile projects, including the MC2 project which has been exploring novel methods for sustainable power supply to be used in urban settings of the UK and China.

Professor Wu provided evidence on the role of hydrogen in domestic heating. This considered points such as geographical location, infrastructure development, and the technological advances needed. The inquiry also explored different hydrogen types, other sources such as heat pumps, cost-effectiveness factors, and evidence from other countries.

When discussing the role of hydrogen in the context of the Net Zero 2050 targets, Professor Wu said:

“The pace of innovation is much faster than we thought. We need to consider uncertainties, but in that case, we should not wait. There are a lot of uncertainties in front of us, but we need to make a decision. Because the pace of innovation is so fast, it is highly possible that hydrogen could be a cost-effective solution beyond 2035 and play a very positive role in achieving the Net Zero 2050 targets.”

During the evidence, Professor Wu brought to attention that hydrogen is a very promising technology, but its success is context and place dependent. In addition, Professor Wu stressed that the source of hydrogen and the ways in which it is going to be produced is as important to consider as to where and how it can be used, stating:

“Hydrogen is a core sector resource for decarbonisation. It could be used to decarbonise difficult sectors such as industry - it is heavily used in industry - and transport as well, which is another very difficult sector that we need to look at. For heating, currently, we have other alternative solutions such as heat pumps or district heating and other forms of renewable heat as well. Clearly, some technologies can’t be used for old properties. I agree that for some locations hydrogen will play a very important role.”

A full recording of this inquiry can be found here Committees - UK Parliament

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